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re: Olcott/Judge; Festive Gatherings

Sep 22, 1994 02:41 AM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

Concerning Paul Johnson's post of Sept. 21, quoted below:

PJ> To follow up the discussion of a source for the story that
> Judge warned Besant not to go to India, because Olcott was
> allegedly planning to murder her by poison.
> I ran into Herb Lubitz at the Mid-Atlantic Gathering, and he
> said he was currently reading Vol. 4 of Old Diary Leaves.
> Without my even bringing up the story, he mentioned it and said
> he had read it in that volume.  Since Annie was of course alive
> when the story was published, first in the Theosophist and then
> in ODL, she would have been able to correct it if she had
> wanted to.  Thus-- it seems credible.
> Will look for the specific passage.

So far the named sources for this story have come from
Nethercot's ~Last Four Lives of Annie Besant~, who stated the
story as a fact, but specified no source, and Gertrude William's
earlier book, ~Passionate Pilgrim.~ Williams gives the same story
(also without stating a source), but labels it as gossip.  Now we
have Paul telling us that his friend, Herb Lubitz, told him that
he had read it in volume four of O.D.L.  Based upon this third
hand information, we are to believe that the story once again
"seems credible." When (if) Paul finds the actual citation in ODL
(and/or ~The Theosophist~), then I for one, will be in a position
to examine the documentation and determine the credibility of the
evidence for myself.  Until such documentation is found and
substantiated, I for one, am not willing to give credence to
Nethercot's and Paul's accusation.  We have enough
mis-information and dis-information floating around about T.S.
History without adding to it.  Let's work to sift the gossip from
documentation before making judgements.

Eldon Tucker's post concerning the recent Post Modern
Theosophical conference contains food for thought.  If he had
actually attended the conference, his comments may have been
quite different.

I'm not sure of the tone intended by Eldon to label the sponsors
as "Theosophical Anarchists," but they might take it in the
spirit of B.P.  Wadia's position that anarchy is the most
spiritual of all activities.

Eldon's comment that the mix of activities are similar to other
gatherings has a lot of truth to it, but not entirely so.  John
Coker's Zen approach to drumming my have been permitted at, say,
Far Horizons or perhaps even Krotona under restricted
circumstances.  But which Theosophical center would have
permitted them to continue their jam session until after two in
the morning? Certainly not at Far Horizons with a 10 p.m.
curfew, let alone Krotona.  Elaine Gemme's "pagan ceremony" had
already been officially forbidden at Krotona.  Full Moon
meditations are also not allowed at Krotona, and I have never
seen one publicly held at Headquarters in Wheaton, though Brenda
Tucker did mention some time ago that they were unofficially held
by young residents and tolerated by the regular staff during her
stay there.

Eldon suggests that any talk of theosophical teachings was
missing from the description of the retreat.  This is true,
though I would offer my observation that I heard far more
theosophy and theosophical teachings discussed at this retreat
then I had heard at any event at Far Horizons or at Wheaton that
I remember attending over the past thirty years.  It is true that
no one gave a presentation on "Globes and Rounds," or the "Seven
Principles," or "Root Races" etc.  This is because, unlike
typical conferences and retreats, the program is determined by
those attending.  No one was interested in giving, hearing or
participating in activities concerning those subjects.  Perhaps
at a later conference enough may become interested in those
subjects.  However, the lack of presentations on formal teachings
doesn't mean that Theosophy was missing.  Roger Gemme's Esoteric
Astrology presentation was based upon his reading of ~The Secret
Doctrine.~ The discussion group on "psychology and theosophy"
grappled with many of the same questions concerning the seven
principles raised and discussed on this net.  I thought Nancy led
a very fruitful discussion that unveiled a variety of views
concerning the relationship of the seven principles to
psychology, as well as other aspects of this subject.  Some in
attendance might argue that David Kestin's Full Moon Meditation
was the most theosophical event.  The interest was there, and
some people had the opportunity to learn about Full Moon
Meditations for the first time.  Since this sponsoring group of
"anarchists" and participants are more interested in exploring
ideas than censoring them, "theosophy" from all viewpoints are
explored according to interest.

Eldon expresses the concern that the retreat activities may have
reflected the attitude that "there was nothing to the Philosophy,
that the Teachings are an useless appendage, and are no longer of
value." If this were the case, I for one, would not associate
myself with these "anarchists."

Eldon asks if there was anything at the retreat that made it
stand above any New Age Retreat.  I would say that there were two
major differences: 1.  The program was created by the
participants, not by the sponsors.  Typically, New Age and
theosophical gatherings are highly commercial events, where the
presentations are determined by the organizers.  2.  The central
focus was on theosophy.  Almost all of the participants were at
least familiar, if not possessing a sophisticated knowledge of
theosophical teachings.  They were interested in exploring
theosophical teachings in contexts other than those normally
presented at typical theosophical gatherings.  Theosophy wasn't
missing at this conference, it was just explored in contexts
other than the traditional ones.

Perhaps others on this net who had attended might add their

In another post, Eldon writes:

ET> We can have organizations
> that are oppressive, and act as security blankets to
> those unable to think for themselves. We can have others
> that are shams, a pretense at being a certain way,
> organizations run in a secret manner. And we can have
> non-organization organizations, those run by a clique, a
> social circle of friends and acquaintances, where again
> the control and structure is not formally acknowledged.
> What is best? How about simple, plain, uncomplicated
> organizations, with few restrictions on membership, no
> attempt at controlling people, and a structure designed
> to encourage the study and promotion of the Higher
> Philosophy? How about Theosophical Societies? Why not
> join?

If Eldon had participated in the last two Post-Modern
Conferences, he would have discovered another type of
"organization" not mentioned above.  It is one where decisions
are truly made democratically.  Everyone has equal say.  There is
no unacknowledged "control and structure." There is *no*
membership, therefore no restrictions on membership.  Presently,
the participants in this "organization" are banded together by a
common interest in the "promotion of the Higher Philosophy." If,
in the future, individual interests become to diverse, there will
be no organizational structure to hold the participants together
beyond their time of creative productivity.  The Participants
will simply disperse--hopefully into other creative endeavors.

Theosophical Societies are a different kind of Organization, and
have their advantages and disadvantages too.  Why does one have
to choose one over the other? Personally I'm affiliated with
three Theosophical Organizations, as well as associated with the
Post-Modern group.

Jerry Hejka-Ekins

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